Our True Blue Alum for Winter 2019 enjoys setting academic goals for herself, and those goals inspire her to achieve more for herself and her three children.
Renee Johnson graduated from Ultimate Medical Academy in March 2017 with her associate degree in MA Healthcare Management (HCM). But that was just the beginning of the healthcare journey for this resident of Fort Washington, Md.
She jumped back into school in August 2017 and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from another institution. The other institution accepted her UMA credits for transfer, which meant that she could complete her bachelor’s in 15 months.*
"That was motivation," Renee said, which helped her remain committed to finishing her coursework.
But she didn’t stop there. Just three days after getting her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled in the master’s degree program for Healthcare Administration at the same institution and is scheduled to graduate in August 2021.
Renee said that taking the courses back to back has made things easier.
"It all actually intertwines," she said. "What you have already learned and your life experiences and the things you learn on the job, it’s definitely easier as of right now."
If Renee’s academic accomplishments are not enough reason for celebration, she continues to achieve new goals while working two jobs and raising three children as a single mom. Renee is a Registered Medical Assistant at a trauma hospital in Washington, D.C., and holds the same position at an allergy practice in Arlington, Virginia.
She said that through her education, she has realized that the possibilities are endless.
"I want to thank UMA for my jumpstart!" she said.
What’s Renee’s plan when she finishes her education? She wants to be president of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the trauma hospital where she works.
Renee, 37, shares her passion for education and achievement with her children. Renee had set a goal to attain her associate degree before her eldest daughter graduated high school, and she ended up earning her bachelor’s degree ahead of that date, as well. Her daughter is scheduled to graduate in May.
"It didn’t hit me until the day I graduated," Renee said.
She said that her kids are proud of her and they do not know how she finds the time to fit everything in, but they know school is important after watching her work hard to succeed.
"I just keep my eye on the prize," she said. "I’m going to do this as long as they are excelling in school. I want to be a positive, motivating force for all of my children."
Renee’s passion for healthcare began at a young age.
"When I was a kid, I aspired to be a pediatrician," she said. "I had a sick friend in sixth grade. She had Crohn’s disease."
Renee became intrigued by how her friend was being treated while she visited her in the hospital. They remain best friends to this day.
She chose the online HCM program at UMA to "help more people with my input and insight." She said that her education allows her to offer assistance from multiple perspectives.
"If I obtain a managerial position, I’ll have input being a patient care person and have the administrative experience, as well," she said.
She praised UMA for the help it provides to its students. The information she received about what goes on in an office was especially helpful. Renee also appreciated how UMA gave her a roadmap of what she needed to do to complete her coursework.
When she finds some time away from her studies, she enjoys singing in the church choir, traveling, and helping others. She combined all of these passions during a mission trip to Linstead, Jamaica, where she went for the first time last year to help volunteer at a local church.
Volunteers provided health screenings, took vital signs, and checked heights and weights, she said. People are then referred to a physician for any further consultation.
A member of her church is from Linstead, and Renee will be returning this summer to help the people of Jamaica.
Speaking of giving back, Renee offered some advice for UMA graduates looking to continue their education.
"Stay focused and go at a comfortable pace," she said. "And utilize your resources that are given to you."
And to the people who provide those resources, she offered praise.
"For those that are hands-on with the students, calling them and motivating them, keep doing what you’re doing," she said. "We love to hear voices and not just see emails. They’re very helpful and motivating."
*Transfer credits are at the discretion of the receiving school, and we cannot guarantee that UMA credits will transfer to another institution.